The People’s Republic of China’s Security Dependence on Semi-Autonomous Territories

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Kathleen Richardson


This paper explores how the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) recent domestic and foreign policies have weakened the PRC’s national security and undermined their grand strategy in the East Asian region. The presented analysis does so by dissecting the PRC’s interference in Hong Kong’s election law since 1997 and the effect this interference has on independence movements in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Xinjiang. Likewise, it scrutinizes the shift in diplomatic communiqué since the 2012 elections and how this shift has escalated tensions both domestically and regionally. Finally, the presented analysis addresses potential physical security issues for the PRC in the South China Sea if the quasi-state of Taiwan were to declare formal independence and align itself with other East Asian actors. By the end of this paper, it should be clear how it is imperative for the PRC to shift their grand strategy from a hard power approach to a soft power approach in order to secure their influence in East Asia. If the PRC cannot counterbalance the need for state security with the need for human security, then their growing hegemony in the East Asian region may be significantly diminished in the years to come.

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